By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – In the first qualifying session since the Daytona 500, Kyle Larson beat Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the top spot.
Larson was among the last drivers to make a qualifying lap for the 2021 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His No. 5 MetroTech Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE ran a 29.953 second, 180.282 MPH lap time. Larson took the provisional pole from his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Elliott by 0.016 seconds. He then held off a challenge from Stenhouse’s No. 47 Cottonelle Chevrolet, who ran a 29.960 second, 180.240 MPH lap.
The pole is the ninth in Larson’s NASCAR Cup Series career. It is his first pole position since Sonoma Raceway in 2019.
“It felt really balanced,” Larson stated. “A lot of times if that’s the case, you would think it might be slow. I wasn’t sure. I honestly didn’t even know what the No. 9 (Chase Elliott) ran for a lap. It was cool when they said I was P-1. Awesome to put our No. 5 MetroTech Camaro ZL1 1LE on the front row. Really cool for Chevrolet, too. There’s a lot of Chevy’s towards the front of the field in qualifying, so that’s nice.”
“A long race tomorrow – we’ll see what we can do. I’ve never been that great in the 600, but Hendrick Motorsports has awesome equipment. I’m excited about it. Thank you to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, the engine shop, Chevrolet, Mr. H (Rick Hendrick). This is pretty cool to get a pole when we don’t get to qualify much this year.”
Team Chevy drivers dominated the top-10 qualifiers. Behind Larson, Stenhouse, and Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet was William Byron’s No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet with the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang of Kevin Harvick in fifth.
Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman placed their bowties sixth and seventh on the starting grid. Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Red, White, & Blue Toyota Camry was eighth fastest. Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain placed their Chevrolets ninth and 10th.
Suarez’s ninth-place qualifying effort marks the best to date for the No. 99 Camping World Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and Trackhouse Racing.
The Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to start Sunday, May 30, at 6:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo